Lion’s Mane (hericium erinaceus) has been used as both a culinary and medicinal mushroom throughout the ages. Its strange look resembles a white, fluffy lion’s mane or an albino hedgehog, and has a delicate flavor, similar to lobster. Lion’s mane has been (and still is) an important medicine in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Its benefits have come under the scrutiny of the scientific community and hopefully will find its way into mainstream medicine.
So, how can lions’s mane help you? Most notably, it acts as a neuroprotector (or nootropic), meaning it protects the nerves and neurons, and may stimulate better healing and growth throughout the body’s entire nervous system. Lions’s mane can help improve memory. In one study, subjects showed reduced experiences with short term memory problems. Just as this fungus can boost memory, it can help with cognition and focus. This translates to less distraction, slow thinking, and mental fatigue.
Lions’s mane reigns as king of neuroprotectors compared to other studied natural nootropics. Its effects include protecting against damage, even that of strokes. Studies show that it may help ameliorate stroke damage. This is not backed by enough research to be a stroke medicine or therapy yet but what science has shown, opens up promising avenues.
If lion’s mane protects the nerves, then it likely could help with depression and anxiety, which affects so much of the population. In one study, there were greater benefits felt from taking lion’s mane extract for depression compared to a placebo. More studies are needed before assuming it to be used as an anti-depressant, though.
A prolific compound in lion’s mane is beta-glucan. Beta-glucan is a natural polysaccharide that aids in elevating the immune system and increasing the body’s defense against infection. It aids in increasing our macrophages (natural killer cells) as well as possessing
Research shows evidence that lion’s mane works like an antioxidant, not that much different than dark berries, cacao, or grape seed. This healing mushroom shows very powerful antioxidant powers, some strong enough to protect major organs.
So whether you consume it fresh as part of a dish or in supplement form, lion’s mane is definitely a plant medicine with possibilities and one you should consider.
Lisa Eck is the owner of
A Moveable Feast
9341 Katy Freeway Houston, Texas 77024